NEW YORK, NY – The Police Department will discipline three officers for an episode in which a city councilman and another city official were detained and handcuffed after the West Indian American Day Parade in September, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The department’s Internal Affairs Bureau found that there was “sufficient evidence to partially substantiate” the complaints by the councilman, Jumaane D. Williams, and the city official, Kirsten John Foy, according to letters that the two men received from the bureau’s chief, Charles V. Campisi.
Mr. Williams said he believed racial bias fueled the episode, in which he and Mr. Foy, an aide to the public advocate, were stopped by police officers after walking down a sidewalk that had been closed because of the parade. Despite identifying himself as a councilman, Mr. Williams said, he was handcuffed. Mr. Foy was pushed to the ground by a police officer and also arrested, a video of the episode showed. Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy are black.
The men said they were originally granted permission by a high-ranking officer to walk down the closed sidewalk.
Chief Campisi indicated that Internal Affairs investigators had determined that excessive force had been used when Mr. Foy was pushed to the ground by a police officer, according to a spokeswoman for the civil liberties union, Jennifer Carnig. The investigators also found that a supervisor had failed to provide adequate supervision.
The officer and the supervisor will receive command disciplines, the civil liberties union said, which typically involve a loss of vacation days and a notice entered into the officer’s personnel file.
A third officer was reprimanded for not informing other officers that the two men had been earlier granted permission to pass through a barricade into a closed zone, according to the civil liberties union, which has filed complaints on behalf of Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy.
The names of the officers have not been released.
A spokesman for the Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday, but police officials have previously described a chaotic scene after the parade, which was linked to three shootings involving five victims.
Mr. Williams has said that the Police Department’s “stop, question and frisk” practices — which he said were part of a larger police culture of racial profiling that had led to the police action against him and Mr. Foy — needed changing.
“This issue is bigger than Kirsten and I,” Mr. Williams said in a statement. “This needs to be a teachable moment for the N.Y.P.D. as to its unjust encounters with the hundreds of thousands of black and Latino New Yorkers that are subject to a discriminatory police culture every day.”
But Deputy Inspector Roy T. Richter, the president of the Captain’s Endowment Association, a police union that represents the upper echelons of city officers, said the episode involving Mr. Williams was emblematic only of public officials’ seeking preferential treatment.
“This is about an elected official who was in a rush,” Inspector Richter said, “and decided to use his position to get through a police barricade.
“It is wrong that all these officers will now face discipline to appease some political purpose. Again, they were only doing their job.”
From The New York Times.